Laufey in Studio A (photo by Gus Philippas/WFUV)
Making her debut at the Newport Jazz Festival this past July, Reykjavík-born Laufey Lin Jónsdottir, who records as Laufey, was happy and a little shocked to be greeted by a big, enthusiastic crowd at her Sunday morning set. But it’s not surprising to anyone following Laufey’s swift ascent as a recording artist — this classically-trained, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, and cello) is very much at the forefront of a global, Gen Z, jazz-meets-pop renaissance, approaching a traditional genre with a clear, contemporary voice.
On Laufey’s captivating debut album, Everything I Know About Love, she muses on romantic — and life — quandaries with humor, uncertainty, and longing. Her music takes as many twists and turns as her resonant, soothing alto and witty lyrics, shifting effortlessly between breezy bossa nova (“Fragile,” “Falling Behind”) and sophisticated storytelling ("Above a Chinese Restaurant"). One of her prettiest piano ballads, “Like the Movies,” from her 2021 EP, Typical of Me, landed Laufey a spot on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” earlier this year.
Laufey, who is based in Los Angeles at the moment, swiftly sold out her 2022 North American fall tour (and most of her UK and European dates too) ahead of her album release — a tremendous feat reflecting how quickly this 2021 Berklee College of Music grad’s life has dramatically changed.
It was really lovely to finally have the chance to chat with Laufey for this FUV Live session — I became a dedicated fan in early 2021 after hearing the charming and very funny “Best Friend,” written for her identical twin sister, Junia. In our interview, Laufey spoke about her surreal pandemic-era ascent, growing up in an Icelandic-Chinese family of classical musicians, her father’s life-altering jazz record collection, and how she's taking care of herself as her career accelerates.
She also played three songs solo on both piano and guitar: “Everything I Know About Love,” “Fragile,” and “Valentine,” the latter a one-off single originally released on February 14, but now included on the album after it became a massive TikTok sensation, but at twice the speed.
[Recorded: 8/1/22; Engineers: Jim O'Hara, Aine Mullaly, Allana Murphy; Producer: Sarah Wardrop]